Devarim (Pisqa'ot 1-25)

Pisqa’ 9

Pisqa’ 91


And I spoke to you at that time, saying” (Dt.1:9).

Moses said to Israel:

Not on my own do I speak to you!

Rather, words from the mouth of the Holy One do I speak to you!!2


“I am unable to bear you on my own” (Dt.1:9).

Is it really plausible that

Moses was unable to administer justice to Israel?

The man who brought them out of Egypt—

and split the [Reed] sea for them,

and brought down the manna for them,

and provided the quail for them,

and wrought for them wonders and displays of power—

that man was unable to administer justice to them?3

Rather, this is what Moses said to them:

“HASHEM your God has increased you” (Dt.1:10)—

beyond the capacities of your current judges.


And so does Solomon say:

“Now grant Your servant an attentive heart . . .

for who can judge this vast people?” (1 Ki.3:9)

Is it really plausible that

Solomon was unable to administer justice to Israel?

The man of whom it is said:

“Now HASHEM gave wisdom to Solomon” (1 Ki.5:26),

and, moreover:

“Now the wisdom of Solomon exceeded the wisdom of all the peoples of the Orient . . .

and his fame was known among all the surrounding nations” (1 Ki.5:10-11)—

that very Solomon was unable to administer justice to them?

Rather, this is what he said to them:

I am unlike other judges.

For a king of flesh and blood4

sits at his bench and condemns

to beheading, to strangulation, to burning, or to stoning,

yet the sentence is arbitrary!5

And if [the law] requires him to collect a sel`a 6in fines.

the judge exacts a penalty of two,

if two, he exacts three,

if a dinar,7 he exacts a maneh worth 100 dinar.

I am not like this!

Rather, if I impose monetary compensation,

I am called to account as if I’d issued a death sentence!

And so He says:

“Do not rob the lowly . . . and do not oppress the pauper at the gate,

for HASHEM will press their cause, and ruin those who ruined their lives” (Prov.22:22)

  1. H:34; JN1:37-38.
  2. Cf. Pisqa’ 5:1, 19:1, 25:3
  3. Cf. Pisqa’ 337.3
  4. The context requires a story about a judge, not a king. GRA emends accordingly. The text before RH and TA reads: “a Canaanite judge.”
  5. There is no correlation of the nature of the crime to the severity of the mode of execution.
  6. The Roman tetradrachm. A silver coin weighing roughly 17 grams.
  7. The Roman denarius (Hebrew: zuz). A silver coin weighing rougly 4.25 grams. The gold dinar (aureus) contained 8 grams of gold.